We have measured the abundance and isotopic composition of xenon in petroleum samples from the Shell Bullwinkle Field off the coast of Louisiana. We used an oxidation and purification procedure designed to insure complete extraction and clean up of xenon from the petroleum.
The xenon isotopic composition was found to be similar to the atmospheric value for one petroleum sample. While the results of the second sample suggest possible enrichment of the heavier isotopes, the errors associated with these excesses preclude a definitive statement to that effect. No monoisotopic enrichment in129Xe was detected in either sample, the presence of which might have allowed us to deduce the petroleum age. Our results represent only the second xenon measurement from petroleum, and the concentrations are within the range of values published in the earlier report.